Modelling Land Cover Changes in Peri-Urban Areas: A Case Study of George Town Conurbation, Malaysia | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
October 2020
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© 2020 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

Drastic growth of urban populations has caused expansion of peri-urban areas—the transitional zone between a city and its hinterland. Although urbanisation may bring economic opportunities and improve infrastructure in an area, uncontrolled urban expansion towards peri-urban areas will negatively impact the environment and the community living within the area. Malaysia, for example, has become one of the most urbanised countries in East Asia. However, cities in Malaysia are relatively small and less densely populated compared with other cities in East Asia. This indicates that urban expansion has been sprawling towards peri-urban areas, and not being controlled and properly managed. To ensure urban expansions occur sustainably, urban growth boundary (UGB) can potentially be used as a mechanism to contain and limit urban expansion, and allow urban growth to be planned to achieve sustainable development. A scientific approach is essential to determine an UGB that allows future growth to be predicted and taken into consideration. Potentially, urban spatial models have been widely used to plan and predict future urban expansions. George Town Conurbation, the second largest urban conurbation in Malaysia, has been chosen as the study area in this study. This study aims to demonstrate the application of a GIS-Cellular Automata model, known as FutureSim, which was developed to simulate land cover changes and generate a designated UGB for this area. The model was developed based on the transition rule derived from land cover changes, from 2010 to 2018, and then used to predict future land cover changes under two different planning scenarios—compact growth and urban sprawl scenarios. With the accuracy of the model exceeding 74%, FutureSim was used to predict land cover change until 2030. The model can potentially be used to assist planners and policymakers to make decisions on the allocation of sustainable land use and planning for rapidly developing regions.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Samat, Narimah
Mahamud, Mohd A.
Tan, Mou L.
Maghsoodi Tilaki, Mohammad J.
Tew, Yi L.


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